Cancer Diet | The best diet to treat cancer

Cancer is one of the most common diseases in the modern age. The exact cause of cancer has not yet been discovered. Yet, many factors, including genetics, environmental factors, diet, lifestyle, etc., play a role in cancer.
Diet plays a significant role in the prevention and treatment of cancer, so having a healthy diet to prevent cancer and a diet that meets the cancer patient's needs is very important in curing cancer.
If your diet is right, it will help a lot in treating your cancer. In this article, we will review and explain the proper cancer diet.
The first point in patients with cancer is that the immune system is weakened for two reasons: cancer itself, and the other is chemotherapy's side effects in these patients. Thus, to prevent microbial contamination in food, you should be careful about choosing healthy foods and cooking them thoroughly.
The second point is that due to chemotherapy's side effects, the person's appetite or gastrointestinal tract may be affected. As a result, her/his food intake may decrease and lead to weight loss. The diet of a cancer patient should be such as to prevent the patient from losing weight. On the other hand, the patient may gain weight due to some medicines, so it is necessary to adjust and follow the cancer diet under a dietitian's supervision.
A proper cancer diet can increase these patients' quality of life and have a significant impact on the treatment process. In general, the cancer patient's diet affects all aspects of her/his life and can increase her/his life expectancy.

Diet for Cancer Patients

In the cancer diet, you should observance the below points:

♦ The cancer diet should include three main meals and three snacks. It is recommended that the number of these patients' meals is consumed in small volumes and more often.
♦ Include 6 to 8 glasses of water and 100% fruit juices in your daily cancer diet to prevent dehydration.
♦ It is better to use whole grains in cancer patients' diets instead of refined grains such as white bread.
♦ It is recommended to eat a combination of grains and legumes instead of bare grains such as white rice.
♦ It is recommended to use red and dark fruits and vegetables with high antioxidant properties due to their pigments in the cancer diet. These fruits include red grapes, berries, pomegranates, cherries, tomatoes, etc.
♦ If you want to consume garlic, you should consume it in a balanced amount and avoid consuming it too much.
♦ Eating various sprouts such as wheat germ and barley sprouts fresh or powdered with various foods can help meet the patient's nutritional needs.
♦ Eat high-protein foods such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, etc. in your cancer diet. It is better to use poultry or fish instead of red meat in the diet. Boiled eggs can be used in various foods or salads to provide the body's protein needs too.
♦ Using probiotic dairy can help improve the gastrointestinal tract's functioning and strengthen the patient's immune system. As much as possible, use probiotic dairy in the cancer diet instead of regular dairy.
♦ If a cancer patient has iron deficiency anemia, include sources of vitamin C in their meals, such as citrus juices or tomatoes.
♦ Use nuts and seeds such as hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, sesame, etc. in cancer patients' diet, you can add these ingredients in powder form to their various foods.
♦ Avoid saturated fats such as animal fats in your cancer diet; instead, use high omega-3 unsaturated fats such as olive oil or canola oil.
♦ It is better to eat boiled or steamed foods and avoid grilled, fried or deep-fried foods as much as possible.
♦ Avoid sugar in the cancer diet; instead, you can use natural sweets such as dried dates, raisins and dried figs.
♦ Avoid spicy, salty, or very sour foods.
♦ You can use spices such as turmeric, ginger and cinnamon in moderation in your cancer diet.
If possible, get at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day.

The best Diet for Cancer Patient

Diet plan during chemotherapy in the cancer patient

Drugs used in chemotherapy have certain compounds that must be stored in special conditions for proper effectiveness. These drugs have many side effects due to their powerful effect on the body's cells. Being aware of these side effects will help you a lot in dealing with these side effects.
To reduce the side effects of chemotherapy, follow the diet tips below to help your treatment and reduce chemotherapy's unpleasant side effects.


Dietary recommendations before starting a chemotherapy course

It may take some time from the time you are notified that you need chemotherapy to start chemotherapy. During this time, try to include more nutritious foods in your diet. Nutritious foods have more calories, vitamins, minerals, and generally more micronutrients, or in other words, nutrition-dense. During this time, try to increase the amount of food you eat and especially use protein foods such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, yogurt, etc. in your daily diet.
To increase the energy of cancer patients' diet, you can add nuts and seeds to milk, yogurt, salads, or other foods they eat. Olive oil or avocado oil are also good choices to increase the energy of these patients' diets. Cereal sprouts increase energy intake and increase the intake of some vitamins and minerals through the diet. So you can use cereal sprouts in your cancer diet too.
Dried fruits are also one of the best choices for consumption before starting chemotherapy due to their high content of vitamins, minerals, and calories.


What foods should we eat on the day of chemotherapy?

On your chemotherapy day, your breakfast should be the same as your regular breakfast. Have a glass of 100% fruit juice or honey syrup in the morning snack. Use enough water and fluids before chemotherapy to avoid dehydration during chemotherapy. Avoid high-fat and hard-to-digest foods for 2-4 hours before and after chemotherapy.
Eating a good, nutritious meal before a chemotherapy meal and eating smaller meals and more fluids 2-4 hours before and after chemotherapy can reduce nausea.
In general, try to include easy-to-digest foods in your diet on the day of chemotherapy.


Best diet while on chemotherapy and after that

After the chemotherapy session, you can use cool drinks that are a little sweet. Note that very sugary drinks and foods should not be consumed after the end of the chemotherapy session.
Consumption of more water and other beverages and daily bathing can help eliminate toxins caused by chemotherapy drugs and reduce the side effects of chemotherapy.
After returning home from a chemotherapy session, you can use light foods such as soup, but your food should not be too hot or cold or spicy.
In some people undergoing chemotherapy, the smell of food can cause nausea and reduce appetite. These people should try to eat in a place that is well ventilated.
If you have the struggle to eat red meat, you can exchange poultry and fish.


10 Nutritional tips to follow in your cancer diet during chemotherapy



♦ Take oral medications with milk or antacid drugs.
♦ In general, eating fresh fruits and vegetables and 100% juices can help meet the patient needs; use these substances in the cancer diet unless your dietitian forbids you to eat them.
♦ Avoid high-fat and spicy foods in your chemotherapy diet. Also, your meals smaller and more frequent.
♦ You need to eat your meals calmly and avoid eating in stressful situations.
♦ To prevent nausea, try to avoid unpleasant views and unpleasant smells and not cook as much as possible or adjust the kitchen ventilation.
♦ Some chemotherapy drugs can change the taste of the mouth and make eating unpleasant. Washing the mouth with salt water can help relieve this problem.
♦ In some patients, it is difficult to eat due to mouth ulcers; in these cases, use soft and liquid foods for diet.
♦ Drinking plenty of water and healthy beverages such as 100% fruit juice can help reduce chemotherapy's side effects. Increase fluid intake for 3 to 4 days after chemotherapy in your cancer diet.
♦ Be sure to tell your doctor if you experience symptoms such as cough, fever, bruising, shortness of breath, mouth sores, etc.
♦ Avoid contact with people with viral and bacterial diseases as much as possible due to the reduced level of immunity.

10 Nutritional tips during chemotherapy

How to fight chemotherapy side effects with diet?

As we said, chemotherapy has side effects for patients due to the powerful drugs used to treat cancer.
Some of these side effects, such as anorexia, nausea, mouth ulcers, etc. can be mainly controlled with a proper diet.
Here are some ways you can reduce the effects of chemotherapy:


Diet to reduce nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy:

Nausea and vomiting are some of the most common side effects of chemotherapy, and fortunately, there are many medications to control this condition in these patients.
However, following the tips below can help you a lot in controlling these side effects:


♦ Because vomiting can cause dehydration, it is essential to drink enough fluids in your cancer diet. Of course, you should not consume too much water or fluids with meals because it aggravates nausea.
♦ Avoid fatty, spicy or very sugary foods.
♦ Eating smelly foods can make your nausea worse.
♦ Your food should not be too hot or cold; try to eat at the right temperature (25 ° C / 77 ° F).
♦ Eat small amounts of food more frequently.
♦ Eat before you are hungry and stop eating before you are full.
♦ Eat some dry cereals such as biscuits in the morning and just after waking up.
♦ You can use dense chocolate or dried fruits during chemotherapy.
♦ Avoid lying down and sleeping for up to 2 hours after meals.
♦ Avoid exercising shortly after eating.
♦ Avoid eating when you have nausea.
♦ Wearing comfortable clothes and being exposed to fresh air will help you feel better.


How to reduce anorexia in cancer patients?

Anorexia is another common complication of chemotherapy. It can occur for various reasons, including the effect of chemotherapy drugs on the body or a decrease in the patient's sense of taste and smell, which reduces the appetite.
If the patient does not eat for a long time due to anorexia, it can lead to malnutrition and more harm. Therefore, it is necessary to consult a nutritionist for the patient's proper diet in this situation.
In the cancer diet, use the following tips to reduce the cancer patient's anorexia.

♦ First of all, you should know that the patient should consume her food in a calm environment and away from stress. More food should be prepared and consumed when the patient is in a more favourable mental and physical condition.
♦ Instead of three main meals, eat several smaller meals 2 to 3 hours apart.
♦ Use high-calorie and high-protein foods such as eggs, milk, cheese, dried fruits, nuts, juices, etc. in the cancer diet.
♦ Eat high-volume, low-calorie foods such as salads and vegetables after the main meal to not make you feel full before the main meal.
♦ Fried or fatty foods can make you feel full without providing for you too many nutrients. Therefore, avoid such foods in cancer diet.
♦ Good flavour and attractive appearance of food have a significant effect on increasing the patient's appetite and making the food arrangement beautiful and decorated.
♦ Eating with family and friends helps increase appetite, so try to eat in a friendly environment with other people.


Nutritional support in the treatment of diarrhea:

If your cancer patient has diarrhea, increase her/his intake of liquids such as dilute juices and soups. Temporarily reduce your intake of high-fibre foods such as most fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, etc. until the patient's condition improves. In this case, the cancer patient should not use simple sugars, candies or chewing gum. Some foods such as apples, bananas, canned peaches, white rice, and pasta can help improve cancer patients' diarrhea. You can use a balanced amount in the cancer diet.


Suitable foods to relieve constipation in cancer patients

Eating high-fibre foods such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables (raw or cooked), legumes, dried fruits, and nuts can help relieve constipation. It would be best if you increase your intake of these foods in the cancer diet.
Adequate water and fluid intake and proper physical activity can also help reduce constipation. Try to eat regularly to correct bowel movements.


In case of mouth ulcers or thrush, apply the following recommendations in the cancer diet.

In this case, the food should not be too hot or cold. Still, the cancer diet's food should be at the same temperature as the room (25 ° C / 77 ° F). If you have ulcers or thrush, oral hygiene should be fully observed, and the mouth should be rinsed regularly. You can use diluted saltwater to rinse your mouth.
Avoid foods with a rough texture; foods that you should eat should be soft texture; you can use homemade sauces to soften the food. Do not include spicy, sour, caffeinated, vinegar and tomato in your diet; these foods can make mouth ulcers worse.


If your sense of taste has changed due to chemotherapy, do the following tips:

Instead of metal utensils, use glass utensils to prepare and consume food. The food you eat in your diet should be cold. Improve oral hygiene by rinsing your mouth regularly. Sometimes the use of spices and pickles can help you not to notice the unpleasant taste of food. Aromatic vegetables also help to alleviate this feeling. Sometimes in the process of chemotherapy, you feel an aversion to a particular food. It is better not to consume that food for a while so that this feeling will disappear over time. 
Finally, when cooking and preparing food, use a method that food has the least odour.

Important points to tend in a cancer diet

There are some things in your cancer diet that you should follow to help you recover faster. Below are the points that you must pay attention to:


♦ Avoid taking any dietary supplement without a doctor's or dietitian's prescription, as it may have the opposite effect on your treatment.
♦ The cancer diet should be rich in colourful fruits and vegetables that contain antioxidants. Tomatoes, grapefruit, berries, red grapes, watermelon, plums, carrots, oranges, nectarines, spinach, etc. are good sources of antioxidants. Eat these fruits and vegetables in a large amount in your diet.
♦ Combining legumes and cereals provides you with a good source of protein; if you can not stand the taste of meat or poultry, use a combination of these two food groups.
♦ Fast foods and foods such as chips, puffs, sausages, hot dogs, etc. are poor in nutrients that should not be used in the cancer diet or consumed in minimal amounts.
♦ It is better to use poultry or fish in your diet instead of red meat.
♦ Grilling meat produces aromatic compounds that stimulate cancer and make the condition worse. Avoid grilling meat and boil it or steam it.
♦ Spices such as turmeric, cinnamon, green tea and coffee contain substances useful in treating cancer. You can use it suitably in the diet of a cancer patient.

Let us know if you have any questions or comments.